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June Chief's Concerns

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Shelley, with the 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, South Carolina Air National Guard at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., poses for his portrait May 29, 2013.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Shelley, with the 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, South Carolina Air National Guard at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., poses for his portrait May 29, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- I was raised on a tobacco farm in Horry County, South Carolina. Working on the farm is where I learned the value of hard work and determination. At a very young age I was taught that there were two very important things that we must take care of, our family (people) and our crops (job). If we fail to take care of our people, our crops suffered as a result. This also applies to us in the Air National Guard. It reminds me how important it is to take care of our Airmen and maintain our aircraft and equipment. If we do not take care of our Airmen the result will be found in the condition of our aircraft, equipment or whatever job you're performing. This will make the mission difficult to accomplish.

As we approach summer we should remain focused on safety and taking care of ourselves and our people. Keeping everyone safe and in good physical and mental condition are important factors to a successful organization. Keep this in mind as we enjoy all the summer activities, as well as preparing for the upcoming readiness inspection. Physical training is a must. We should exercise often if we expect to meet the standard, be prepared to deploy and live a long healthy life.

AFI 1-1, Air Force Culture / Air Force Standards, states the following: The Air Force requires its Airmen to adhere to higher standards than those expected in civilian life. As airmen, we are proud of our high standards. Through self-discipline, we adhere to them, and we hold our fellow Airmen accountable to follow our standards.

I would like to also cover a few other items outlined in AFI 1-1. Core values, customs and courtesies and diversity are all addressed in Chapter 1. Duty performance, alcohol abuse, drug abuse and financial responsibility are all mentioned in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 covers dress and appearance and physical fitness.

Most of us on McEntire have room for improvement in at least one of these areas. McEntire continuously loses too many Airmen due to lack of responsibility in many of these areas. As leaders we should expect our subordinates to fully comply with AFI 1-1. Following these standards will allow us to accomplish the mission and continue the tradition of being the "Best of the Best". When Airmen don't live up to the standard we must take action. Going back to the days on the farm, occasionally a bad weed must be pulled.

As former Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, Chief Master Sgt. Rodney J. McKinley once quoted, "If you walk by a problem and do nothing, you are now part of the problem."

We must ask ourself, am I going to be part of the problem, or am I going to address it? If we really care about our fellow Airmen we should never ignore a problem. We are all challenged with problems that we cannot fix ourselves. As Airmen, we all need someone to talk to from time to time. I feel we do a good job with resiliency training. But, is that enough? As you know the suicide rate is continuing to rise in the Air Force. We must know our people. Get to know your Airmen. Don't always talk shop with them; find out what is going on in their world. We all expect so much out of our Airmen and they expect a lot from us as well. We must be there for them. Always lead by example by being a good Wingman.

Please call me or come by my office and let me know if I can ever be of any assistance to anyone of you. Hope all of you have a great and safe summer. God bless each and every one of you and God bless the United States of America.